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Sneak and Peek

Under the patriot act, any strong arm
of law enforcement
has the right to enter your home covertly
while you sleep
while you are out
on suspicion you might
be hiding something under the bed
among your boxers or thongs
on your computer among the porn.

Are you patriotic?
Do you submit lists of what you read
to the F.B.I. without waiting to be asked?
Do you spy on your neighbors checking
if they play Middle Eastern music
if they smoke other than tobacco
if they read the wrong books—all u.s.
right thinking people know what
they are. If they have too much sex
or sex of the wrong kind—all u.s.
right thinking people know exactly
what we mean. Do you believe
in the separation of Church and Hate?
Evil our President says is everywhere
and obvious and must be invaded
mostly by Black adolescents
whose morality is dubious anyway
unless they die as heroes.

We, your bornagain FBI
have collected receipts from your
restaurant meals for the past five years.
You have ordered hummus six times,
falafel twice and lamb four times
which is suspect because your
President eats only beef and ham.
What are you planning to do with that
sesame tahini from Stop & Slop.
Your credit card records indicate
you purchased 8 bags of fertilizer
on April 11 at 17 hundred oh 8.
You also purchased nails—
material for anti-personnel devices.

You have turned off the television
48 times while Our President spoke
words of wisdom and Christian endeavor.
During the State of the Union address
you were observed on your couch
making derogatory faces and obscene
remarks. You have emailed quotes
from our sacred leader miscalling
him Shrub. You may not criticize
the President nor his lady Laura
nor his omniscient veep
the great grey Cheney of oil
nor the secretary of defense
Our Donald whose brain shines
bright as solid titanium
or our Grand Master Ashcroft
into whose perked up ears
every men’s and women’s
room in the country is directly
bugged. You may be detained
on suspicion of being suspicious
You want to protest?
That’s grounds enough.
You are under arrest.
You have no right to remain
silent, to seek counsel
or to defend yourself. Welcome
to the New Inquisition.

Marge Piercy’s sixteenth novel The Third Child was published by Harper Collins last year. Her sixteenth book of poetry, Colors Passing Through Us, was published by Knopf in the spring. Leapfrog Books is putting out a CD of her political poems, Louder, I Can’t Hear You Yet, that should be available by the first of the year.

2003, Volume 55, Issue 07 (December)
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